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Review: Willows by Shaun Harmon

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Today I am very pleased to present Willows by Shaun Harmon.

Willows
Shaun Harmon
Contemporary Fiction
eBook
179 Pages
Trois Coccinelles Publishing
ISBN:  B00AJD3GF4
Purchase Now:  Amazon

About the Book:

Marcus has found the love of his life. Tami is everything he could ask for and more and he can’t wait to settle down and start a family in Willows, the small suburban town they were both raised in.

Their plans are derailed by Tami’s secrets. Secrets that turn their quiet suburban existence into a powder keg of lies, lust and depravity.

Marcus’ plans for a perfect life is twisted into something unrecognizable and he learns that sometimes, even faith and love aren’t enough to save you.

Book Review:

I am familiar with this writer’s style and his ability to display and project emotion outward with surgical precision, always reaching the target who is viscerally reacting to the words on the page.  With each new revelation in this story, the confusion, despair and often utter devastation are palpable emotions as the reader is dragged along on the journey.  The unique perspective of a relationship gone horridly awry by using a male main character and voice, do seem to provide an extra ‘oomph’ to a strongly emotional tale of a family in dissolution.

The tale unfolds in a series of flashbacks and remembered conversations and erotic encounters. Marcus is searching for new footing and a new perspective as he dissects the relationship looking for the ever elusive “missed clues”. His process of allowing despair and bitterness to effect memory of each conversation and moment is one that is familiar to any reader who has lost a love, or lost the rose-tinted vision of the dream for a future with the one they love.  That makes this a story that is uniquely universal and touching, with events detailed in such a way as to provide a guidebook of what one can experience in the situation, and will resonate with readers as they seek to despise Tami or cheer for Marcus.

A story that will make you laugh, cry, despair, hope and cheer, Willows has transcended its suburban New York setting to provide a glimpse of life behind closed doors that could be happening anywhere in the world, with all sorts of combinations of couples.  Personally I am very excited to see more of Marcus on his search for a new version of his dream.

I purchased a copy of Willows for my own library.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibilty.

I gave Willows by Shaun Harmon 5 Stars.

Be Sure to look for the BTS eMagazine review of Willows when the eMag releases on February 1, 2013

About the Author:

Shaun Harmon is a writer and blogger and author of the novel Willows. A former corporate honcho, Shaun quit his corporate life to dedicate himself to writing and to life as a single dad. He and his daughter recently moved to the NJ suburbs, which he finds is giving him ideas for many, many novels. Shaun is hard at work on the follow up to Willows,
Cul de Sac to be released Spring 2013.

Find Shaun at:  Website  §  @shauntharmon  §  facebook  §  goodreads

Indies Rock Review: Touch of Beyond, Twist’s Tales Vol. 3, by Michael Twist

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Today I am pleased to present a short story collection, Touch of Beyond (Twist’s Tales) by Michael Twist.

Touch of Beyond

Touch of Beyond
Twist’s Tales, Volume 3
Michael Twist
Self-Published
139 Pages

About the Book:   Thirteen stories, many ending with a twist; endowed with a tiny splash of paranormal that pushes them just beyond the realm of normal everyday life. These stories will leave you thinking for days.

My Review:   

A collection of thirteen short stories, each uniquely crafted with a viewpoint that often is left until the closing sentence, this is a delightful read.  While I freely admit to being a short story devotee, creating a good short complete and full in imagery, information with a beginning, middle and end is not an easy task.  Each one of these stories contained in this book has a distinct flavor, with a voice that best suits the narrative character, and often provides an interesting twist in a very unexpected and clever ending.

I can’t say that there is one that was my favorite: the integration of unique viewpoints and the distinct patois developed in each character’s voice as the story unfolds both fits and highlights the story as it progresses, leaving the reader with the satisfaction of a story well told.  There is humor and pathos, some great thoughts and some rather shallow ones contained within, and all create a great short read all at once, or to spread out and sample a story a day for nearly two weeks.

With a style that beautifully lends itself to the short story, and a facility with characterization that is clearly rendered in each short with a distinction and subtlety that is enviable, this is storytelling at the higher levels of the form.  Michael Twist has a unique voice and talent for the short story is well represented in this collection, one that I highly recommend.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for I am, Indeed.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

I give Touch of Beyond 5 out of 5 stars 

Purchase Touch of Beyond at Amazon

About the Author:   After eighteen years of teaching literature Michael Twist decided to try his hand at writing some of his own. Always fascinated by human nature, Michael’s stories often focus on the decisions people make and the internal conflicts they experience in doing so.

Michael’s short story Ties That Bind won the 2011 William Faulkner Riverfest Literary Competition. His short story Americans Do Love Their Cars won the 2011 Quid Novi Festival Writing Contest. Also in 2011, Michael placed second in the Writers’ Journal, Write to Win Contest with his short story Nearly Perfect. In 2012 Michael placed two stories (Tea in Chesapeake and Dear John) in the finals of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network as well as making the finals in the Press 53 Open Awards Competition with his short story Out on a Limb. His micro-fiction has been short-listed numerous times in the Flash 500 competitions.

Find Michael at  Website § Facebook §  Amazon Author Page

Indies Rock Review: Incoming Alert by Arlene Webb

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Today I am pleased to present Incoming Alert by Arlene Webb

Incoming Alert FINAL COVER

Incoming Alert 
Arlene Webb
Self-Published
324 Pages
Sci-Fi Adventure
B009Q63XQC

About the Book:  How Not to Celebrate your Century Birthday:
Tell overprotective parents you’ll be fine.
Phase to a parallel dimension to amuse yourself with humans and choose a name.
Arrive flat on your face.
Learn you’re unique among immortals, and not in a good way.

Hello, Earth. Boy’s victory dance on top of a cafeteria table doesn’t last long.
She’s looking at me? Seriously? Jubilation vanishes when he realizes the young woman gawking at his trembling two-inch form–which should be invisible–is as frightened as him.
Major screw up that he is, he ignores everything he’s been told about survival and shifts larger without first refilling his phase-depleted veins.
Then comes the icing on what’s sure to be his last birthday cake. After denying he’s crawled out of the meatloaf, he bonds with the mortal. Not only is he drawn to a first century name that guarantees anger and ridicule, it’s doubtful he’ll survive this birthday, let alone celebrate another.

Incoming Alert is a science-fiction adventure novel for general audience, but contains violence and adult themes. No vampires, weres, zombies, fey, or previously known supernaturals were used or otherwise harmed in the making of this novel.

My Review:    An intriguing premise and incredibly unique world and character building set the stage for this novel. Creating a whole new and different character archetype, the Ron, and imbuing that character with a voice that is alternately sweet and sarcastic, innocent and worldly Arlene Webb has created a story that is difficult to put down.  Integrating dimension / world hopping,  culture clashes and similarities and the ever present voicing of Caron in his struggle to understand, relate and integrate his newfound experiences into something that makes sense to him.

With a deft hand, the author has integrated quite clever wordplay into the conversations and interactions, as well as the interior voices of the characters.  While I found Caron quite refreshingly unique and well developed, and his family bonds well defined and palpable, there were some misses in some of the secondary characters that made them less believable, although that was not dramatic enough to distract from the story.  It really is a story of Caron, and he is the highlight and the glue that holds the story in place.  While there are places that the plot seems to jump about, and sections could easily have been omitted, if you are patient and stay with the story, it does all come clear: and is well worth the wait.

A story that has so many unique elements that are well done, with dialogue that requires you to just “go along” for the ride until the pattern and rhythm appear – this book was a fun read. Not perfect, but different enough in concept and craft to keep me reading. Certainly one that an older YA reader would enjoy (there are some adult themes and violence) with a character that is bound to make you laugh at his observations and asides.   One that will certainly have me looking at more of this author’s work.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review as part of my Indies Rock promotion on I am, Indeed.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

I gave Incoming Alert  4 out of 5 Stars

Purchase Incoming Alert  at Amazon

About the Author:    Sci-fi, paranormal, thriller-mystery, indefinable, I’m an author who adds sweet and spicy layers of romance to any genre.

I was born in upstate New York, land of cows, snow, drizzle and sometimes a ray of sun. Second oldest with four siblings, I spent my childhood reading everything I could get my hands on. Adolescence found me questioning the validity of everything I read, along with acquiring the usual scars of high school.

Early twenties, I headed for the Pacific. A stop off to visit a friend in the desert turned into years in Tucson, Arizona. I worked as a waitress, bartender, greenhouse worker, greyhound trainer, while swapping a psych major for one in plant sciences at the University of Arizona. Fired for skipping employee meetings at restaurants, employee gambling at the dogtrack, refusing to use live rabbits as bait, it fell to planting cacti and bartending to pay my way through college.

My late twenties found me running family owned greenhouses and florist shops in New York. When the reality of retail life became too mundane to handle, I began an obsessive love of creating more interesting worlds.

Find Arlene at: Website § Facebook § goodreads § @Arlene_Webb_

Review: The Curse Merchant by J.P. Sloan

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Today I am pleased to present a review of The Curse Merchant by J.P. Sloan.  Please check out the other Tour Stops to see what others thought, read excerpts and see interviews.

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Title: The Curse Merchant
Series: The Dark Choir #1
Author: J.P. Sloan
Genre: Urban Fantasy Noir
Publisher: Self-published
Format: eBook
Words: 83,000 / 276 Pages
Purchase:   Amazon | Smashwords |
Stars:  5
Book Description:  Dorian Lake has spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian’s captivating ex-lover. After two years’ absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen’s affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation… with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

My Review:  

If you are looking for a book that manages to engage on every level, brings a different approach and attitude to the working of magic and ancient forces, and has a main character with heart and integrity – this is the book for you.   Dorian is a practitioner who crafts charms and hexes in the city of Baltimore.  His hexes and charms are fueled by karma – karma of the recipient of the charm, and can work for good or bad depending on the personal history of the charm recipient.

Through a series of missed connections and unexpected twists, Dorian is convinced to help retrieve the soul of a former lover from a Soul Merchant in the city, and this decision brings Dorian into a series of personal choices and decisions that were, as recently as a month prior, an anathema to him.

With the tension building as the deadlines run down and the pressure builds, watch Dorian outwit, outmaneuver and outthink the lesser skilled practitioner, as he makes decisions that will alter his life forever.

A beautifully crafted story with the character of Dorian being both uniquely voiced and incredibly detailed.  Rich in history and research, with glimpses into the actual craft as well as the price and cost of each charm cast, the craft is not voodoo or Santeria – it is far older and more basic, drawing on the essential forces and ancient beings that are often forgotten.   With an eye for explaining the elemental nature of the magical powers, and clear delineations of costs, we are able to watch Dorian manipulate forces to his ends.

As the first in a series, this book has it all.  A protagonist that is relatable and likeable, with an endpoint in this book that only ends one chapter in Dorian’s quest while leaving room for more.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for Full Moon Bites tours. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Author:   I am a storyteller, eager to transport the reader to strange yet familiar

JP Sloan Stairs

worlds. My writing is dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. I write science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, and several shades in between.

I am a husband and a father, living in the “wine country” of central Maryland. I’m surrounded by grapevines and cows. During the day I commute to Baltimore, and somehow manage to escape each afternoon with only minor scrapes and bruises. I am also a homebrewer and a certified beer judge. My avocations dovetail nicely!

Website/Blog |  @J_P_Sloan | Facebook |

 

 

Review: The Illusionist, Fone-Stories #2 by Mike Kearby

 

The Illusionist

Title:  The Illusionist
Series: Fone-Stories™ #2
Author: Mike Kearby
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Publisher: Self
Format: eBook
Words: 2500 / 12 pages
Purchase: Amazon
Stars:  5

Book Description:  Fredrick Knowles is an illusionist. A conjuror extraordinary—that is until one night in Vegas when things go wrong. Very, very wrong.

My Review:

In the second of this series of Fone Stories™, The Illusionist has all of the traits I have come to know in the 3 titles I have read by Mike Kearby.  A unique twist on a situation, person or time;  one good hint that tests a reader’s attention and exposure to vocabulary, a spare writing style in which every word is necessary and none are disposable, and an ending that is completely guaranteed to keep you thinking long into the night.   In what has become the “must read” series of stories for me, Kearby again twists fantasy and reality to present an Illusionist with the power to create items from his simple imagining or need.  With his little bulldog Leurre, Fredrick heads to Las Vegas to ply his trade on a casino stage.  What happens next will have you handing your eReader to random strangers telling them they MUST read it.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for Full Moon Bites. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Author:

Mike Kearby (born 1952) is an American novelist and inventor. Since 2005, Kearby has published ten novels, one graphic novel, and written two screenplays: (2011) Boston

Mike Kearby

Nightly, with fellow writer Paul Bright and (2012) The Devouring. Boston Nightly is scheduled for filming in the spring of 2013.

Kearby was born in Mineral Wells, Texas, and received a B.S. from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in 1972. He taught high school English and reading for 10 years and created “”The Collaborative Novella Project”” The project allows future authors to go through the novel writing process from idea to published work. Kearby began novel writing in 2005 and has completed eight novels, one graphic novel, and written the afterword to the TCU Press 2010 release of western novelist’s, Elmer Kelton, “”The Far Away Canyon””.

“”Ambush at Mustang Canyon”” was a finalist for the 2008 Spur Awards. “”A Hundred Miles to Water”” was awarded the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Best Adult Fiction. “Texas Tales Illustrated” was awarded the 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Best YA Non-Fiction.

Find the Author:   Website | Twitter | Blog |

Review and Giveaway: The Vampire’s Hope by Danica Winters

Today I get to present this author for a second time in a review of A Vampire’s Hope  by Danica Winters.  This was a very long tour with plenty to see; please check out the tour stops to see more.  Additionally, you can enter via this Rafflecopter to win one of 15 eBook copies of The Vampire’s Hope.

But first – the book:

Title: The Vampire’s Hope
Series: The Vampire’s Hope: Book One
Author: Danica Winters
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: BTGN
Format: eBook
Pages:  40 (approximate)
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance
Stars:  4
About the Book:  Ellie Smith, an emotionally stunted dancer, finds more than she bargains for after her human life is taken by the vampire, Master Liam.  Once inside the Vampire’s underground lair, the Keres Den, she meets Ian, an immortal Viking warrior, who is infiltrating the soulless prison.  (New Paragraph) As Ellie begins her training, she learns that the dark tunnels around her are filled with even darker secrets.  As the truth of her existence come to light, she is faced with a choice—does she let her past dictate her future, or can she begin to feel again?

The Review:

I want more! More about the history, more about the Keres, Ian and Master Liam – these were fascinating and intriguing and left me thinking on the connections and allegories for hours.  What was a reasonably successful short, in that it built intrigue, gave tastes of characters and created a smart and engaging character in Ellie left me feeling as if there was more of the story to tell.

Certainly the premise of the story is wonderful, but the short form was more an amuse- bouche than a full course.  There were some minor “fluffy” bits of extra words, some poor word choices that were more an annoyance as I was flipping the pages to discover more about the conflicts, the history and just how Ellie would relate to her new “life”.  Sharp tongued and street smart, I really liked her and was intrigued by her reactions and story.

This could be a wonderful full length story: to Danica Winters credit she crafted a series of interrelated elements in a new way, with an original series of ideas and a vivid world created in which to bring the action to climax.  As a prequel to a more flushed out and longer book, with deeper explanations and more time to develop the characters I think it would be a world-beater and sure to enthrall readers.  As a short, it has some difficulties, but nothing that doesn’t make me want to bang on the author’s door and demand a second and longer book with these characters that expands on the premise and promise between these pages.

I purchased an eBook copy prior to the opportunity to review for Full Moon Bites tours.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

 

About the Author:  Danica Winters is an Amazon best-selling romance author based in Montana. She is known for writing award-winning books that grip readers with their ability

to drive emotion through suspense and often a touch of magic. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Montana Romance Writers, and Greater Seattle Romance Writers. She is a contributor to magazines, websites, and news organizations. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, the outdoors, and the bliss brought by the printed word.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Barnes and Noble | Ravenous Romance | Silver Publishing | Books to Go Now |

Indies Rock Review: Flotilla by Daniel Haight

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Today I am pleased to present Flotilla by Daniel Haight, a cross-over apocalyptic science-fiction with a 15 year old main character.  Please read on…..

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Flotilla
Daniel Haight
Paperback and eBook
Apocalyptic Science Fiction
206 Pages
The Aspire Company
ISBN:  978-0615562544
About the Book:    What would you do if you only had minutes to live? Flotilla is a crossover apocalyptic science-fiction in which a young man is thrown into an ocean, literally and figuratively, to become both a survivor and a hero. Jim is a slacker teen alcoholic who leaves rehab to start life aboard a sea steading community. It’s a floating city filled with strange and dangerous characters who work at farming edible fish and other enterprises. Jim sees this as an opportunity to re-connect with his estranged father, Rick, but he quickly finds out that second chances can come with strings attached.

Jim learns what hard work and responsibility mean while learning the ropes of a dangerous, lonely job. He is often at the mercy of Rick and his hustling friends. Daily adventures and brushes with death give Jim the chance to grow up and screw up. His new home serves as both the classroom and crucible he needs to put his past behind him. At the same time, the Colony is also a dangerous ecosystem. Drug-dealing, human trafficking and gambling create fortunes that people will lie, cheat and kill to protect. Jim doesn’t know how his father is connected but there are many signs that Rick isn’t there just for the free Scuba lessons.

The tension explodes when a terrorist attack hits nearby Los Angeles. Jim and his sister Nancy are safe for the moment aboard the Colony but Rick is drafted and taken ashore. Now the kids are left helpless to deal with angry drug pirates and crooked cops. Will Jim be able save himself and his sister? Is doing the right thing always the right choice? The answer will keep fans of Blade Runner, The Hunger Games and Firefly hooked until the last page.

Flotilla has already captured the hearts of readers worldwide as its issues are real and relevant to many young people who are growing up in today’s risk-filled environment. This is a whirlwind adventure over two summers that paints a vivid picture of adventure and hardship. It is also a deeply moving look at the impact of sustainable technology on some hilariously dysfunctional, flawed characters. Readers are finding Flotilla to be a stirring coming-of-age tale that brings together fathers and sons and conquers loss through courage and inner strength.

My Review: 

There are many things to recommend this book: well developed characters and a first person narration by the main character, Jim. Jim is 15 and like most teens has his moments of childish behavior and recalcitrant attitude when he feels someone is treating him like a child.  In an attempt to ‘realign’ his priorities after a stay in rehab for alcohol, his mother seeks out his deadbeat and otherwise troubled father, Rick, in the hopes that Jim will find a new start on the offshore society called the Colony.

Interactions displayed in a series of flashbacks, intermingled with current conversations further develop the character and the reader understands both his attitude and his reasons for escaping into the haze of alcohol abuse.  All the characters have a care with which they are crafted, and their importance to Jim, and in the story are skillfully displayed in conversation and interaction that never feels forced or unrealistic.  I do think that readers who are looking for more science fiction or apocalyptic story line may find the early part of the book drags, as the pacing is more character driven than fast paced and dramatic moments of climactic build.  That changes with a bang just after, and the plot moves at a near frenetic pace to the end.  I enjoyed the book, and while I thought that too many loose ends were left unresolved, it does provide a perfect lead in for another book in the series.

A good read to share with your 15+ readers, the character of Jim will ring true and real to them and provide an opportunity for them to engage with a book that doesn’t condescend but speaks to their sense of adventure and empathy.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for my Indies Rock series on I am, Indeed.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

I give Flotilla 4 out of 5 Stars! 

Purchase Flotilla now at: 

Amazon  §  Barnes & Noble § Smashwords

About the Author:

Daniel Haight is a long-time author of numerous published short stories and now a new novel  Flotilla.  Since 2007, Dan Haight has been published by many fiction sites and is known for his blend of dark humor and crackling narrative.  As a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Dan first fell in love with science-fiction watching Star Wars and
Star Trek before moving onto the other classics of the genre.  He lives with his family and when he isn’t writing, he works as a lowly IT guy in a large computer company (which we won’t name because they threatened us).

Dan started writing with his first story back in Sixth Grade, an epic tome featuring the adventures of a guy named ‘Daytona Titanium’ and the rest was history.  “I was just having fun,” Haight says.  “I had no idea what I was doing – I’d see a TV show or a movie that caught my attention and shamelessly rip it off.”  He grew his experience through practice and is frequently found browsing second-hand book shops to discover new stories to enjoy.  Although he enjoys being an author, Daniel Haight also considers himself a geek and fan of post-apocalyptic fiction.

Dan’s first short stories were published to immediate rave reviews by fans and professionals alike.  “I loved the fact that people connected with me,” Dan relates, “but I wanted to do the big one – I wanted to publish a novel.”  He continued working with a project that started out as an idle daydream back in 2007 to turn it into the novel  Flotilla currently grabbing the attention of audiences worldwide.

Find Daniel at:  Website §  Facebook § Goodreads § @FlotillaOnline

Indies Rock Review: The Last Tower by Brian Oxley

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Today I am pleased to present an unusual work of fiction that I hope many will find interesting and thought-provoking.  Please read on to see more about The Last Tower by Brian Oxley.

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The Last Tower
Brian Oxley
Oxvision Books
ISBN: 978-1938068009
172 Pages
Paperback and eBook
General Fiction

About the Book:   Imagine a sinister threat is looming, whose potential for malice is barely discernible…for now.

A series of destructive waves – shocks to the world system – takes place during the first two decades of the new millennium that initially  appears to have no connection. But the ensuing shock waves do not pass and fade. They grow and converge to undermine our confidence in the entire world order.

Five friends begin to creatively imagine the results of a world dominated by a leadership with a hidden agenda. Peppering the conversation with stories that illustrate their hopes and fears, they engage in a charged dialogue. Hearts and minds confront one another to find glimmers of Truth and the unsettling possibility of supernatural involvement.

More than a prophetic fable, it’s a call for some soul-searching introspection. And hey, it’s just five regular guys at the Star Diner engaged in a little…spirited discussion. We’re just talking…


Watch the trailer and download a sample of the book HERE

My Review:

 

In a post 9-11 world, five long-term friends meet up regularly at a small diner to have dinner, share ideas and discuss their lives.  The discussions are lively and peppered with bits of foretelling, that seem to both warn of possibilities and depict events that have happened, with haunting potential for future events that could happen.

In a strangely true-to-life way, I could envision these sorts of discussions around my dinner table, peppered with friends of different viewpoints, careers, and spiritual outlooks on life.  Discussions are lively and deep, while many are speculative based on current realities and technological potential and possibilities, climate change, governmental upheaval and other catastrophic events.  There is even a friend with a mild case of conspiracy-theology.  As a read, it was gripping, disturbing and left me with so many different thoughts on the connectedness of people from every country now share in this technologically intertwined world.

Beautifully written, with illustrations that often help to reinforce a key point the book has a style unlike others I have read.  Inserts of biblical excerpts that relate to the times at hand, as well as some parable-style stories that are guaranteed to spur more conversation at the table add to the oddly comforting feeling generated by these five friends and their long-term bonds to one another despite tremendous personal differences.

This is a book of conversations and ideas, and as such is quite masterful in displaying many sides of an issue, and guarantees to have readers considering all that is discussed.  I truly enjoyed this book, was alternately hopeful and terrified with some of the conversational topics and conclusions, and feel certain that it will be the sort of book that you want to pass on to your friends for your own ‘’diner discussions”. 

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review in my Indies Rock promotion on I am, Indeed.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

 

I give The Last Tower by Brian Oxley 5 Stars.

Oxvision Books  §  Amazon Paper  §  Kindle 

Review and Giveaway: Harbour Falls by S.R. Grey

 

Today I am pleased to present Harbour Falls by S.R. Grey.  First in the Harbour Falls Mystery series, and a great mystery with a romance.  Additionally – check out the other tour stops to see what others had to say.  And be sure to enter this Rafflecopter to be entered to win one of 6 eBook copies of the book.  Ends 31 January.

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Title: Harbour Falls
Series: A Harbour Falls Mystery #1
Author: S.R. Grey
Genre: Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: Ebook | Paperback
Words: 114,000 apx./ 346 Pages
Add this book to Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Print) | B&N
Stars:  4

Book Description:  Best-selling author Maddy Fitch, researching material for a new novel, returns to Harbour Falls to investigate a disappearance that has haunted the town for more than four years. Maddy soon discovers that the case may be cold, but the #1 suspect, Adam Ward, certainly is not. Now living on an island off the coast of Maine, Maddy takes up residence near the sexy Mr. Ward’s home. As she begins to seek out answers, the mystery deepens, putting Maddy in jeopardy.

Lies, secrets, deceptions. Nothing is what it seems in Harbour Falls.

My Review:

I’m a sucker for a good mystery. Toss in a romance, and I’m golden. Make the protagonist an author who is delving into a real mystery much like she would craft her books – and that is a must read.

Although it starts a little slow,  the background provided helps to engage the reader into the mystery, and fix Maddy as a character worth knowing.  Confident and strong writing create a world that is familiar and yet lively, with a hauntingly intriguing mystery at the core.  With a cast of characters so complex and multi-layered, all with their own secrets and agendas, the mystery is truly one of the better ones I have read in a while.

With characters that have faults, insecurities and secrets, the possibility for the “who did it” is great, and the mystery that Maddy decided to investigate is not the only shady dealing in this little town.  Determining friend from foe, innocent from suspect was truly a puzzle, for both Maddy and I, and even when the book ends, there are still several unanswered questions.  All to be picked up in the proposed books 2 and 3 of this series.

With an incredibly steamy and sexy romance, the frustration that Adam must have felt just oozes through the pages as the author keeps you waiting to see if they will have their moments, or just dance about in a haze of sexual attraction and excitement.  A truly unique work that was a page turner, with a climax that was unexpected and clever.  An author to watch, especially for the subsequent books in this series.

I received an eBook copy from the author for review for Full Moon Bites tours. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

About the Author:  S.R. Grey is the author of HarbourFalls, first in the Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy.

She resides in western Pennsylavania. She has both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris College, as well as an MBA from Duquesne University. And though she enjoys working in sales and consulting, her true passion lies in writing. Other interests include reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams.

Find S. R. Grey at  Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

 

Indies Rock Review: Tough Girl by Libby Heily

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Today I am pleased to present a debut novel:  Tough Girl by Libby Heily.  Please read on

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Tough Girl
Libby Heily
Self-Published
Paperback and eBook
ISBN:  978-1480080348
224 Pages
Genre: Coming of Age Fiction with Sci-Fi elements
Purchase Now:  Smashwords  § Amazon  §  Barnes & Noble 

About the Book:  

Danger lurks everywhere in eleven year old Reggie’s world—from the bully next door to the unwanted attentions of a creep at school. Raised by her mentally ill mother, Reggie is left to fend for herself. She escapes in daydreams, battling aliens with her alter ego, Tough Girl.

When Reggie’s mother disappears, her fantasy life spirals out of control and starts to invade reality. She is hunted by a creature of her own design, and even Tough Girl is not strong enough to stop him.

Will Reggie survive long enough for her mother to return, or will her dream world take over?

My Review: 

In a story that skirts the edges of actually becoming a transgressive fiction work, Tough Girl is both emotionally demanding and disturbing while managing to craft a protagonist that is as admirable as her situation is deplorable.

This is not a “light read” nor should it be taken as such, but there is great beauty and insight within.  Part of that beauty comes from the all too realistic depictions of a family on the edge, battling poverty, mental illness and violence: all told from the point of the child.

Meet Reggie, 11 years old with a rich and varied imagination and a serious knack for survival. With a severely mentally ill mother, and little in the way of creature comforts, her escape is into the world of imagination and the creation of her alter ego – Tough Girl, to get her through the worst of times.  Descriptive of a disassociative personality disorder, this story details a child crafting a protective shell in times of extreme stress, and relying on that alter ego more frequently as the stressors in her life become too much to handle.

Libby Heily has done an amazing job in crafting this story. With a voice that rings true as an eleven year old, with an amazing innocence and naiveté despite her circumstances, her determination and honest integrity.  Additionally, with the increasing presence and voice from Tough Girl, and the confusion that result as the two worlds begin to merge and blur the lines between imagination and reality are detailed with a grace not often found in a book aimed at teens.

Nor do I necessarily believe that this is a book for every reader of YA age – more skewed to the older teens, as there are complex and disturbing elements of subject matter that not all parents would want their young teens exposed to.   This is a book well worth reading, laced with symbolism and correlating the trials and struggles between the two worlds, making it a truly worthy commentary on society’s treatment of children of poverty.  Disturbing and gritty, with near visceral reactions to some scenes and situations there is a beauty in the lack of apology for the realities detailed within.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review in the Indies Rock promotion at I am, Indeed.  I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

I give Tough Girl by Libby Heily 5 out of 5 stars.

About the Author:

I’m a bookworm and a writer, a nerd that’s seen every episode of Farscape and can’t wait for the next Dr. Who Season to begin.  I enjoy running and playing sports and am always hopeful the Baltimore Ravens will win a Superbowl.  I love movies but don’t care about the Oscars.

I eat apples regularly but find apple juice bitter and don’t like it. I’m a foodie and a beer snob.  I eat babies.  Okay, just baby carrots.

 I studied acting, video production and creative writing.  I’ve had very few jobs that reflect any of those years of study.  I am Libby Heily, and it’s nice to meet you.

Find Libby at  Blog §  @LibbyHeily